How your birth order predicts the rest of your life

If you really want to rile up guests at a party, start talking — preferably loudly and over-confidently — about the science of birth order.

It’s one of those topics in science that everyone’s got an opinion on. And as it turns out, even psychologists can’t seem to agree on how your birth order affects your success in life.

We dug into the science behind birth order and rounded up some of the most fascinating findings.

As always with psychological research, take these ideas with a grain of salt — for example, just because elder children are more likely to be leaders doesn’t mean you can’t be a CEO if you’ve got an older sibling.

That said, it’s always interesting to speculate how our family dynamics helped shape the person we are today — and what’s more fun than blaming all your problems on your family?

If you're the youngest...

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You're more likely to take risks.

Research suggests that laterborns (i.e. not firstborns) are more likely to participate in dangerous sports -- think football or wrestling.

The researchers also looked at brothers who played on Major League Baseball teams and found that younger brothers were more inclined to steal bases.

You're more likely to be self-employed.

Another study found that last-borns are generally more likely to be self-employed in their late 30s, suggesting that younger siblings develop a more rebellious nature.

If you're the middle child...

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You may show more concern for others.

Evolutionary psychologists say middle children are more likely to demonstrate 'prosocial' behaviour, meaning they're altruistic and willing to take risks that will end up benefitting other people.

If you're the oldest or only child...

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You're more likely to be conventionally successful

As one psychologist said, oldest and only children grow up in a world of adults who are smarter than they are, and the only way to please them is to succeed in conventional ways.

You probably performed better in school

One study suggests that's possibly because parents are stricter with their first kids and more lenient with those born later.

You're more likely to hold a leadership position

Research has found that firstborns are more likely to become CEOs and political leaders. One psychologist says that's because they're generally comfortable and successful when they have a lot of structure.

Regardless of your birth order...

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You're likely to pair up with someone with the same birth order as you.

One study found that firstborns are likely to form close platonic and romantic relationships with firstborns, middle children with middle children, and so on.

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